Quickly, Baba Yusuf Ganiyu shared his short biography and how he started the business of snail farming and those hurdles he had to pass through. He told us nearly all the first set of startup snails he brought from the market died. He later travelled to a neighbouring state major farmer market to procure another set, majority of these also died. His households were becoming skeptical of his new adventure but he continued his research and efforts till he reached his present level, selling hundreds of thousand snails annually and as we were with him now he can happily boast of nothing less than 28,000 snails in his captivity, including hundreds of giant African land snails he has been rearing for more than eight years as he insisted he wanted to know how long it will take those snails to die. Also, he told us his snail farm seems to be the largest farm owned by a snail farmer in the state save those ones he constructed for some of his wealthy clients.
Thereafter, the participants were taken through the basics of snail farming. He took us through the following topics :
i. Which type of snails to rear for commercial purposes (he recommended AM). The participants were shown AM in their various stages of life cycle, eggs, hatchlings, juveniles, adults, etc.
ii. He talked extensively on how to recognise the best snails to breed. He recommended buying POL from a snail farmer to avoid bad experience. He talked extensively on the features of POL and how to recognise them.
iii. He talked about marketing of snails and how one can quickly make money from snail farming, which includes buying and selling of snails (that's, buying at a price, add your margin and sell at a profit). He narrated the story of a couple who started from this and now they own a house and a profitable snail farm. He said all one just needs to succeed here is connection, publicity and be business-oriented.
iv. He explained various ways to feed snails with physical examples of what we saw in his farm. He condemned giving snails formulated feeds because of the side effects this might eventually have on snails. He later showed us his small farm where he planted vegetables and fruits such as pawpaw, pumpkin, etc to feed his snails. Also, he told his that he always goes to farmer markets to buy fruits in large quantities to feed his snails.
v. He took us through the various ways of constructing pens or snail houses. He recommended standard cage system as the best way of housing snails. He took us through his snail house built on a plot of land. He said he observed lots of mistakes and encumbrance on most trenches people constructed to raise snails.
Eventually, he advised that what we need most in doing the business of snail breeding is to get means of constructing a snail pen, this is very important. He sensitized us to dream big and even think of building something bigger than his.
He later gave out his phone number for participants to consult him on whatever might be bothering them on snail farming business as he possesses 28 years of experience in snail farming business and he had passed through many 'trial and error' methods.
Lest I forget, he advised we shouldn't do the business alone neither should we rely on Google alone. Family members are to be carried along as they can also contribute to the success or otherwise of the business. Also, it's always better to benefit from the experiences of leaders in the industry.